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By Toby Davis
PARIS, June 1 (Reuters) - Alize Cornet called Victoria Azarenka a “juggernaut” after the number three seed recovered from a shaky start to mow her down in three sets at Roland Garros on Saturday.
The double Australian Open champion looked like veering off the road as her title credentials were given a rigorous examination by the Frenchwoman, but she put her foot on the gas to win 4-6 6-3 6-1 and book her place in the last 16.
For large periods of the encounter, Cornet out-fought the Belarussian and looked much sharper around the court.
Azarenka’s consistency and greater firepower, however, ultimately wore down Cornet.
”She’s a machine, a juggernaut,“ Cornet said. ”She plays the same from the first to the last point.
”It’s my feeling that I was knocked around everywhere by her topspin.
“What’s frightening is I dropped one or two games but that’s enough for your head to go under the water.”
Cornet, seeded 31, took the first set and both players struggled to find consistency on their serve, frequently exchanging breaks, as the sun made a rare appearance at Roland Garros.
The pair then went toe-to-toe before Azarenka, who has never been past the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, found her rhythm and broke Cornet’s resolve, taking the second set and running away with the third.
Azarenka’s serve, in particular, let her down as she double faulted 10 times and was broken on six occasions in the match.
“I really felt that I left my serve at home today but if I can win serving like this, that’s pretty remarkable,” Azarenka said.
Azarenka will now face former champion Francesca Schiavone, who put in an eye-catching performance to beat France’s Marion Bartoli 6-2 6-1. (Editing by Clare Fallon)